The World Health Organization's Perceptions of Traditional Medicine
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I investigate how the World Health Organization (WHO) perceives traditional medicine. The WHO has issued publications related to traditional medicine for decades, acknowledging and commenting on traditional medicine as a globally prevalent system of health care, and providing various guidelines and recommendations. I analyze those documents as well as a series of interviews with current employees within various departments at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland to see how the WHO perceives the array of pros and cons related to traditional medicinal practices, and with the aim of understanding the WHO’s overall stance on the role of traditional medicine. Findings show the WHO treads carefully in regards to traditional medicine, as they do not want to publicly discredit a practice widely popular among constituents, nor blatantly support a potentially harmful practice. Generally, the WHO portrays a neutral or positively slanting opinion of traditional medicine through its publications. However, among employees and through subtle references in publications doubts about the practicality and value of traditional medicine become apparent.
DepartmentPublic Policy Studies
CitationArkfeld, Chaele (2011). The World Health Organization's Perceptions of Traditional Medicine. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/5126.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers